Event: South Island Agricultural Field Days 2023

When it comes to showcasing agricultural machinery, it’s fair to say that the iconic South Island Agricultural Field Days truly is a Field Days like no other

SIAFD stands out from the crowd for its impressive machinery demonstration area where buyers and spectators can see everything from maize being harvested (with the latest machinery) to grass mowers, balers, and cultivation machinery in action.

There’s quite simply no other Field Days to compare to SIAFD and its impressive demonstration space, with the event held annually alternating between Kirwee and Waimumu as the location.

While this year opened to cold and damp conditions, it was just 24 hours before the hotly sought-after demo area kicked into action, affording the crowd a truly unique opportunity to see so many of New Zealand’s leading brands in working conditions.

Best Cultivation or Drilling Equipment Demonstration Award went to Norwood Farm Machinery, Best Harvesting Demonstration went to Power Farming, and The Phillip van de Klundert Memorial Trophy for the Best Overall Demonstration went to Claas Harvest Centre.

The Best Large Site and Hamish Reid Memorial Trophy for the Overall Best Site Winner went to Claas Harvest Centre and the Best Small Site went to Lammermoor Distillery. The Agri-Innovation awards saw first place awarded to Ravensdown for EcoPond, which gives Dairy farmers the ability to reduce methane emissions by up to seven percent.

Second place went to Ruts Plus Limited for their development of a Pivot Rut Filler, creating a better, faster, and more economically friendly way of filling centre pivot wheel ruts.

Yara N-Sensor ALS-2 

Precision farming has been available for some time, with auto-steer tractors offering accuracy down to mere centimetres. The next progression is around the efficiency of inputs for crop or pasture. That’s where the latest Yara N-sensor ALS2, available in New Zealand from Drummond & Etheridge, comes in.

The real-time variable rate nitrogen sensor allows farmers to measure crop nitrogen requirement; as the fertiliser spreader passes across the field and variably adjusts the fertiliser application rate accordingly. Using sensors mounted on the tractor/spreader and using light to measure chlorophyll in order to give a nitrogen reading, the technology then sends a message to the spreader to apply the required amount.

Representing more than 20 years of development in Germany, the latest Yara N-Sensor ALS-2 monitor can even cope with variance in conditions like dewy mornings or particularly dry conditions, with measurements taken every second and the system designer to operate at normal operating speeds.

Benefits of the system can include fertiliser savings or better utilisation of the same fertiliser. In cropping situations, this can include savings at harvest time with better yields across the paddock.

The whole process of determining the crop’s nitrogen requirement and application of the correct fertiliser rate happens instantaneously, with no time delay. This enables ‘real-time agronomy and application’ to be possible.

To see the benefits of this technology first-hand, Drummond & Etheridge have a John Deere 6155 and Bogballe spreader set-up, which was on-site at SIAFD and is available for on-farm demonstrations.   

Pottinger Mowers

The Grass Seed Master

Mowers are an essential piece of kit on many farms. However, the Canterbury region has a special mowing job – mowing pure grass crops to provide seed for farmers around the rest of the country.

Pottinger mowers (the Classic and NovaCat) range from 2.62 to 4.3 metres and offer both front and rear models and are proving well-suited to the important task of seed grass mowing (which has traditionally been a job done with windrowers in the past).

Pottinger delivers a slim cutter bar, which allows a clean cut of the crop with a good overlap of each disc cutter module. Also, toolless blades are spring-loaded, so they don’t fold back under the weight of heavy crops, reducing crop losses.

Depending on the size of the mower, swath wheels, and top hats can be fitted to achieve the optimal swath for drying, saving time when weather windows are tight. Optimal flow through the combine with even swaths aiding harvesting efficiency.

No one-trick pony, it’s a quick and simple matter of removing a few bolts holding the swath wheels, and you have a reliable Pottinger mower suitable for silage, hay, and any other topping/mowing tasks.   

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